It was a few days ago when I was testing some custom ROMs for my article Best Custom ROMs for Samsung Galaxy S3 GT-I9300 that I came across an interesting ROM that was then, and still is, in beta stage. It was smartly names as the XperianZe ROM and it claimed give “the real Xperia Z experience on your Galaxy S III”. I have tried many ROMs and mods with such claims but have always been disappointed with them all. Anyways, I decided to give it a try too and downloaded.
XperianZe ROM for the Galaxy S3 international model GT-I9300 has been developed by XDA member edgarf28 who has taken advantage of various ports of Sony Xperia Z launcher and widgets by different people and beautifully compiled, themed, modified and optimized these resources to cook a delicious ROM. If you do not know. the Xperia Z launcher was ported to a range of Galaxy devices by ThilinaC and I had made a post on that topic too. Edger also makes use of JKay’s settings module to breath a new life in his XperianZe ROM.
I have been using the XperianZe ROM for the past 3 days now and found its claimed to give a near-Xperia Z feel on the Galaxy S3 to be true to a great extent, but instead of ending up this review article with this rough conclusion, I would like to throw light on some of its other aspects and then see if it really deserves a serious attention.
Download and Install XperianZe ROM:
You can install the latest XperianZe ROM from below. Check out the main XDA thread for further developments and updates. Download the ROM and read our great review below till the download finishes. To install the ROM, head over to our tutorial from the link below.
Download Latest XperianZe ROM:
The XperianZe ROM now features Aroma Installer, giveing you full controll over what you want to install on your phone.
Mirror 2: XperianZe_v.0.9.9 XXEMC3 FULL AROMA
How to Install Tutorial: Link
XperianZe ROM’s latest update comes with the Xperia Z original lockscreen. It is very clean with minimal details like time and date and two unlock shortcuts for camera and music app. While playing music, you can see the music player widget with control buttons. You can unlock the phone by swiping you finger to up or down. Since the ROM is fully compatible with JKay’s Delux Settings app, you can replace the default LS with some other lockscreen them, even with Galaxy S3 ripple lockscreen.
Homescreen and Launcher:
The XperianZe ROM has the latest version of Sony’s new launcher app that was introduced with the the Xperia Z. I have tried the old Xperia launcher and realized that in terms of customization options the older one was better, but that is not to say that the new launcher is not good. Anyways, the new launcher used in this ROM is very fast and responsive. The app drawer opens with lightning speed. You can manage the apps very easily and by tapping on the top left you can rearrange apps in custom order, or choose to have them alphabetically, most used and recently installed order. If you want to arrange the apps in a preferred order, select the “Own Order” layout ans then you will be able to change their order or move them by pressing and holding and then by dragging them to a particular spot or page.
On the top right corner in the app drawer, there is a search button to access an app quickly in case you have installed a lot of them. To uninstall an app quickly, just tap on the left soft key, choose “Uninstall” and tap on the apps you want to delete.
As for the homescreen, you can have any number of pages and customize it with widgets and apps. Tap and hold any empty spot on the homescreen to enter edit mode where you will the options to add widgets, apps and changing wallpaper. You can add a new page by tapping the add icon and remove it by tapping the cross (delete) icon on the top right corner of a page when the edit mode is on. To set a particular page as your homescreen touch the Home icon on the top left corner. You can also add an app to the homescreen directly from the app drawer by tapping and holding an icon and dragging it to “Add to Homescreen” bar at the top.
Xperia Z Widgets:
The XperianZe ROM for the Galaxy S3 houses almost all widgets from the Xperia Z to give you a complete sense of Xperiaization of your Galaxy S3. Thus you have widgtes like analog and digital clocks, recent calls, quick settings tool, calendar, messaging, notes, photos and videos, torch, TrackID, and weather. All widgets are beautiful and come of them can even be resized by tapping and holding the widget on the homescreen.
Xperia Z Apps:
The XperianZe ROM features quite a number of apps and widgets ported from the Xperia Z and this things takes your Galaxy S3 closer to the the feel of Sony’s latest flagship. Here you can find Xperia apps like Walkman, Album, Movies, Calendar, Notes, TrackID, Calculator, and Torch. All these apps work nicely and some of them are better than their counterparts from other manufacturers.
Xperia Z Album App:
The most notable of these is the Album app and I must confess it was the a very enriching experience using it on my Galaxy S3. Just as you open the app, you can see all the image and video files stored on your phone and the way you can change the layout of the gallery is very is so instinctive and useful. You can experience the magic yourself. Open the Album app, place your two fingers on the screen and spread them apart or closer to change the size of thumbnails to bigger or smaller. Keep spreading the fingers again and again and you will able to view an image to the largest zoomable size. You can also change the image view layout by swiping your fingers from left to right and vice versa.
You can find the image slideshow feature in almost all smartphones but with the Sony’s Album app has this feature with a difference. Here you can enjoy a slideshow in a number of animated styles and with your favorite music playing in the background. You can access this feature as follows: open Album, tap on left soft key on your S3, and select “SenseMe Slideshow” (it did not work for me, however).
Another nice thing about the Album app is the ability show online albums from your Facebook and Picasa accounts. If you have enabled geo-location tags in the camera app, you can see the camera images with location on animated globe.
Xperia Z Walkman App:
When it comes to music quality and output on a Sony handset, you all know it is always to the level of par excellence. With XperianZe ROM installed on your Galaxy S3, you will be able to enjoy the Walkman app from Sony. Since I have never has a chance to use an Xperia handset, it was a whole new experience for me. The Walkman app is intelligent that it detects the dominant color in the album cover image and changes the music player background accordingly. See the first screenshot in the image below and you will see the the pink background in music player interface and it is just because the dominance of pink in the album art image.
You can change the track easily simply by using the control buttons or by swiping the album art image. To mark a song as favorite and set song shuffle, you will have to press and hold the album art image. You can enjoy a variety of visualizer animations: tap on left soft key, select Visualiser. Tap the left soft key again, select Theme and set your preferred visualization animation.
To enhance sound output and quality you can explore Walkman app from Settings> Sound Enhancements and then by tapping on Equaliser and Settings tabs.
Xperia Z Notes app:
Another nice app that needs a mention here is the beautiful Notes app that lets you take down any note/reminder on the go in various styles. You can type a note, draw it and even record a reminder note in a simple tap. Just open Notes app, create a note and put the note widget on the homescren for quick reminder.
Xperia Z-like Theming:
You cannot claim a ROM to give a complete Sony Xperia Z look and feel just by integrating its apps and widgets in a non-Xperia phone like the Galaxy S3. And Edger, the developer, has taken care of this pretty efficiently. He has wisely integrated the Xperia Z mods for the Galaxy S3 ported and themed by ThilinaC. The theming of such things as the dialer, framework background and elements, highlights, selectors, spinners, pop-up dialog boxes, notification panel and even the bootanimation make this ROM closer to Xperia Z.
Well, there is nothing new about having the multi-window feature after the Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update for the Galaxy S3. Neither it is new to have the MultiWindow Control app to edit and add additional apps to the multi-window tray. Most of the TouchWiz-based custom ROMs now have it. The new change you find in the XperianZe ROM for Galaxy S3 is about its look. It has been themed to suite the Xperia feel.
Xperia Z Keyboards:
Another thing I like about this ROM for is the beautiful keyboard that come with it. The keyboard is very functional and allows you to customize its look and input techniques. When the keyboard is open, select numeric mode and tap on the settings icon to choose from the available themes and configure it in your own way. The word-prediction feature seemed to work better that Samsung’s stock keyboard. Besides, it also supports bilingual input if configured from settings.
Performance and Benchmark:
Having gone through various important details of the XperianZe ROM, we have finally reached to a point where we can focus on some other technical aspects of the XperianZe ROM. The ROM is very light in size, just about 435 MB and therefore it is much faster compared the stock ROM and even some other custom ROMs like Omega, and crDroid. Here you would not see bloatwares, but only the most commonly used ones. It ran very smooth and fast and the battery-life was very decent. I performed an Antutu and Quadrant benchmark test and here are the results.
Finally, before we end up this review, here is our final verdict. The XperianZe ROM for the Galaxy S3 is no doubt a very beautiful ROM and it is successful, to a great extent but not perfectly, in delivering the look and experience of the Xperia Z. Performance-wise too it was faster and smoother that most custom ROMs available out there. The disappearance of Google Search widget and Google Now, however, surprised me. I have never seen a Jelly Bean based ROM that does not have Google Now feature, one of the hallmarks for Android Jelly Bean. Then there is the presence of the Page Buddy feature under Settings> Display despite the fact you cannot have it enable over a non-TouchWiz launcher.
But given the fact that XperianZe ROM is still under beta stage (the current version being 0.9.5), we should be a little liberal to this nice ROM from a new developer like Edger who has just given us his first work. We hope that with time the ROM will get better and even better.
So, this was our review of the XperianZe ROM and hope that it would help you decide whether or not to go for it. If you have not yet tried it on your Galaxy S3, you will be missing a nice XperianZe to be sure, and if you have been using it, do not forget to share with us what you feel about or review!
Cheers to all!